Riff Raff, co-led by Brit keyboard boss Tommy Eyre and bassist Roger Sutton, grew out of the Mark-Almond Band. Before meeting Jon Mark, Eyre had played with Joe Cocker's Grease Band. The pair decided to form solo projects while with Mark-Almond, and recruited vocalist Alan Marshall, drummer Kenny Slade, and guitarist Martin Ball. This lineup was never formalized, though they had recorded demos and even finished some tracks for a debut album for Richard Branson. The amalgam of jazz, rock, and soul was intoxicating and was a fine emotional alternative to the Canterbury bands, which were much more concerned with complexity than groove. The music included here features all seven of those original finished tracks as well as the first four recordings of the final band lineup after Marshall and Slade left.
BGO rolls out this two-on-one set of two back-to-back Savoy Brown offerings. Raw Sienna, issued in March of 1970, was the last album to feature the great Chris Youlden, a fine songwriter and stunning blues singer. Only Eric Burdon is in his league among British singers of the era. His tunes, including "A Hard Way to Go," "I'm Crying," and "Needle and Spoon," are the clear standouts. The twin-guitar attack of Kim Simmonds and Lonesome Dave Peverett is also developed to its zenith here.